News / Africa

Nigeria's Former Military Ruler Running for President

Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)
Former Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida (file photo)

A former military ruler in Nigeria is running for president in elections scheduled for next year.  The candidacy has revived allegations of corruption during his time in power.

Retired general Ibrahim Babangida says he is running for president because he left so many things behind when he left Abuja, including the value of Nigeria's currency, stable fuel prices, and government reform.

He told reporters this week that he wants to return to the capital to pick up those things for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians.

Babangida is among half a dozen candidates vying for the ruling-party's nomination, but no one has a resume quite like his.  A veteran of three successful military coups, Babangida ran Nigeria for eight years, dragging-out a transition to civilian rule by banning all political parties and forcing candidates to run in one of two parties he created.

Political analyst Ignatius Onwuemele recalls when a vote was finally held in 1993, Babangida annulled the results.  

"The election that was the freest and the fairest so far in Nigerian history was annulled without offering any reason," he said.  "And of course such a man who spearheaded such an annulment is not a democratic individual, as far as I am concerned."

Onwuemele wonders how a man who ruled by decree can work with a multi-party legislature. "As a military ruler, I know that it is not like democracy where issues are tested and tried.  He can wake up and take decisions and all that," he said.

Babangida says he takes full responsibility for annulling the June 12, 1993 vote and admits it was a mistake.

Former ruling-party member Edward Oforomeh says Babangida is not the only one to blame. "That June 12th issue is not a personal issue.  Although he was the leader of that regime, he could not have done it alone.  Babangida could not have done the annulment alone," he said.

As a Nigerian citizen, he says Babangida has every right to run for president. "He did the best he could when he was [in power] and now that he says he is coming back it is left for the populace to decide on whether to vote for him or not," he said.

During his time in power, Babangida created many new local government areas and several new states as part of what he said was a plan to decentralize power.

"Everybody sees today development there as a result of those local governments and states," he said.

Nigeria made huge oil profits with the spike in world prices during the first Gulf War and much of that money collected by the Babangida administration remains unaccounted for.  Babangida says he knows that will be an issue in this election, and he is assuring voters that all those funds were properly used to meet government demands at the time.

Warri-based attorney James Jakpor says corruption is a problem for all Nigerians. "The blame of the corruption, the blame of the Naira can not be placed only on Babangida.  He contributed his quota, no doubt.  But the problem is for the whole of Nigeria," he said.

Political analysts say the former general no longer enjoys such a huge financial advantage over potential rivals.  An officer class once dominated by his Middle Belt region is now more geographically and ethnically diverse.  

There is also the question of age. Babangida is 68.  In a vote to choose a successor to a president who could not complete his term because of a heart condition, many Nigerian voters are looking for a younger, more dynamic candidate.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid